The first time I went to Maison Akira in Pasadena was to celebrate its 18th Year Anniversary on October 20th, 2016. My friend Tiffany had invited me with a Meet Up group of gals from L.A. Foodies on Facebook. There were six of us that were going to enjoy a seven course dinner. When I first walked in, I felt the trés chic vibe. I immediately gravitated to the decor. There were miniature Eiffel Towers at every white cloth table. Dark maroon cushioned chairs and curtains that separated the main dining room from the private dining room where we were seated. Tiffany is part owner of a lobster company, which she supplied the lobsters for the evening. She introduced me to Chef Akira Hirose since they are long time friends, and I got to hangout in the kitchen as he prepared our second course. I was beside myself since I thought this was pretty amazing. I couldn't help being in the presence of a seasoned Chef, and I was so excited I decided to do a Facebook live. So that I could share the behind the scenes preparation. Chef Akira was plating our Chilled Maine Lobster Vinaigrette. It was so beautiful and truly a work of art. In the midst of all of this he was trying to get to know me, and what I do for a living. I mentioned that I work in Network Radio, but that I love food. We left so that he could finish getting our second course out. It was so pretty I didn't want to cut into it. It was tender and meaty just the way I like it, and it had a creamy pepper sauce on the side, which gave a nice kick in flavor. Next, we had the Wagyu Ravioli and Caramalized Apples. If you have never had Wagyu then you are missing out. The taste is so different because it is tender and succulent. The Vine Ripened Tomato and Celery Root Soup was delicious and had a tangy zest. Our fifth dish was the Sauteed Hokkaido Scallop in Hijiki Chardonnay Sauce. Oh my, this was ambrosial! It was lovely and savory. The Granite (Soju-Pomegranite) helped to clear my palate for the final course. The Maple Leaf Duck Breast in an Orange/Yuzu Kosho Sauce with Carrot Ginger Mousseline was pure perfection from the sauce to the duck. After dinner, Chef Akira sat down with us at the table and wanted to know how everything was. He is so personable that he took the time to share stories of how he studied in France and worked there for 8years. Then came here to Los Angeles where he first worked at L'Orangerie, Citrus, Georgian Room (Ritz Carlton) in Pasadena. He explained how he wanted to learn pastry cuisine, but was not very fond of it. However, this obviously did not stop him from being a successful Chef.
On February 2, 2017 Tiffany held another get together with an intimate group of eight. This time it was to celebrate the Chinese New Year. I could not pass this up, especially after seeing the six course menu, and was told that some people would be bringing wine from their personal collection. The menu started out with Amuse-Bouche and Miyo Sake Champagne. Next the was the Chilled Maine Lobster Claw Appetizer with Caviar, which I ravished quickly. The Maine Lobster Ramen with Dashi and Saikyo Miso is the best ramen I have ever had. The soup base was very light. My two favorite dishes of the evening were the Roasted Maine Lobster Tail in Lobster Civet Sauce and Diced Pineapple, and the Snake Farm River Kobe NY Steak. Absolutely the best dishes. We all had different desserts, but I chose the Chocolate Souffle. This menu will continue until February 10, 2017 if this peaks your interest.